Hospitality Assured Director, Max Lawrence encourages Hospitality organisations to think more broadly about how they can plug the gap in the current challenging recruitment crisis.

With near record levels of UK employment and the reduction in labour from EU countries due to the Brexit debacle, we see endless streams of media reports from industry leaders lamenting the recruitment crisis in hospitality, tourism and related industries.  There is no doubt that recruitment is tough out there, but are organisations really thinking out of the box and being creative in their workforce employment strategies?

Traditionally the industry has recruited from a young talent pool for its front line and back of house colleagues.  As this resource becomes scarce, businesses need to start thinking about challenging the stereotype of age to attract workers who may have retired from their main careers and are keen to work on a full or part time basis to supplement their income and remain an active contributor in the workplace (for the  record the UK government threshold on becoming an ‘older worker’ are those age 50 to 80+).  With around 10 million over 50s in work last year and an ever ageing population this labour pool is set to grow exponentially. These individuals are fitter, more active, keen to participate and seek new experiences than their predecessors

However, businesses will need to adapt their employment practices to attract this demographic.  Many will be working to supplement income to fund life experiences, travel the world to visit family and friends and many other such scenarios.  This will mean that you need to address their needs.  The key tools in hiring and retention are that employment contracts will need to be adaptable and a willingness to make workplace adjustments for them with ready access to unpaid leave.  If you force them to make a choice between visiting family in Australia or elsewhere for three months you will be the looser!  But approach this with understanding and flexibility  and they will be back with you following their trip, invigorated and ever willing to contribute to the success of the organisation and planning their next adventure!

These individuals are a dependable steady workforce without plans to move on and hike up the career ladder.  Their holidays tend to be out of peak season and school terms, they have maturity in situations, personal integrity, are good listeners, take pride in a job well done and can diplomatically share their lives and professional experiences to support others in the workplace. They understand internal politics, are excellent mentors and role models for younger counterparts and can offer maturity and a wealth of experience.  High profile restaurant group Corbyn & King have already identified this largely untapped market and believe it creates a better and more diverse workforce.

An Ageing Better study shows that older employees are equally as productive as their younger colleagues. However, nearly half (46%) of mature individuals think their age is a disadvantage when applying for a job, and one in five think people see them as less capable due to their age.  Equally, employers negative attitudes also often play a role in older employees’ opportunities of finding and retaining employment.

About the Author: Max Lawrence

Max, Director of Hospitality Assured, has extensive experience in business and hospitality management in both the United Kingdom and Europe, and has a passion for promoting quality and professional customer service in business operations, advising large and small businesses to never mistake silence for satisfaction. @hospitalitymax1 

About Hospitality Assured:

Hospitality Assured, the quality standard created by The Institute of Hospitality assesses nine areas across businesses, from leadership to training and development, customers service and supply chain.  It is the only standard within the hospitality sector which focuses on the customer experience and continuous improvement.

To find out more about how Hospitality Assured work and support organisations to optimise business and service excellence, visit @HospAssured